American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Governor Moore Announces $19.6 Million in Broadband Awards to Provide Internet Access to 2,400 Maryland Households

Governor Moore (D-MD) announced $19.6 million in Fiscal Year 2024 awards through a new Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development program to help more Marylanders access high-speed, affordable internet. Home Stretch for Difficult to Serve Properties, administered by the department’s Office of Statewide Broadband, will provide internet access to approximately 2,400 unserved Maryland households in its first round. Home Stretch for Difficult to Serve Properties is part of the department’s new initiative to serve remaining Maryland households without internet access.

Comporium Brings Multi-Gigabit Broadband Speeds to Additional York County (SC) Homes

Forty-four addresses in two rural areas of York County (SC) have gained access to Comporium’s fiber-based multi-Gigabit internet service. Over the past few months Comporium placed two miles of fiber-optic network to reach addresses off Hands Mill Highway and Kingsburry Road. This project, extending the company’s fiber-optic network, provides customers the ability to access internet speeds of up to five Gigabits per second. Comporium continues to work with state and federal agencies to find ways to upgrade service to more rural customers.

State budget includes $50 million for broadband deployment

Virginia’s recently passed law to speed broadband deployment to rural areas now has a financial component. Gov Glenn Youngkin’s (R-VA) signature on the General Assembly’s budget bill will move $50 million over two years from the general fund to the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative, or VATI. The new law, SB 713, is set to go into effect July 1.

Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen Visits Comcast Stafford Rural Broadband Expansion Project

Despite the challenges we’ve faced, we’ve emerged stronger and poised for future growth. Investing in high-speed internet is an Administration-wide priority, with a goal of connecting every American by 2030. It’s a key example of our agenda to expand our economy’s capacity to produce in order to drive growth while increasing opportunity for people and places that haven’t had enough of it.

Comcast does public-private broadband projects across footprint

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited a recently completed Comcast rural broadband project in Stafford County, Virginia, highlighting that this is a public-private project between Comcast and the county. The giant cable company is involved in public-private partnerships across its national footprint. For years cable operators such as Comcast, Charter and Cox have fought hard against municipal broadband projects, always crying that it’s wrong for taxpayer dollars to compete against their private investments.

Los Angeles County chooses WeLink to serve FWA to 275,000 locations

In 2021, Los Angeles County leaders decided they wanted to close the digital divide in some underserved areas. So, the county issued a request for proposal, soliciting bids from broadband providers. Surprisingly, WeLink, a relatively unknown fixed wireless access (FWA) provider, won the contract, beating out incumbents such as AT&T and Charter Communications.

Windstream, Georgia Electric Co-Op Partner on $39 Million Public-Private Partnership

Windstream, Colquitt Electric Membership Cooperative (EMC) and Lowndes County (GA), are teaming up on a $39 million public-private partnership to bring broadband to about 16,000 locations in the county. Windstream is contributing about $17.6 million. The other $21.7 million is funded through the Georgia State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the county. Windstream will handle cost overruns. The project, which will provide multi-gigabit service to users, will include 806 miles of fiber.

How the Pandemic Changed Broadband

 There are several important changes to the broadband industry that came out of our collective pandemic experience.

Rural Broadband Advocacy in Action

The rural broadband industry has such a great success story to tell. In the face of transformative technologies, regulatory challenges and increasing competition, you have embraced that change, stayed committed and looked to close the digital divide by delivering the robust and high-quality services that you do every single day. Your commitment to sustainable networks and affordable services is what really has made rural communities fertile ground for innovation. We’ve seen that in so many ways, and this innovation contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy every single year.

Subsidizing Rural Broadband Networks

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration preparing to award over $44 billion to construct rural broadband networks. Almost by definition, these networks will be built in rural areas where it’s hard to justify a business plan where revenues generated from the grant areas are sufficient to fund the ongoing operation and eventual upgrades to any broadband networks.